Pakistan women’s cricket team under the captaincy of Sana Mir had a tournament to forget when they lost seven out of seven matches in their current ICC Women’s World Cup campaign. Pakistan’s last match pitted them against the second weakest side of the tournament Sri Lanka, and they had to go all guns blazing against the islanders to beat them, but they fell just 15 runs short in their hunt for at least one victory in the eight-team event. Before that, they were outgunned and outplayed by South Africa, England, arch-rivals India, Australia, New Zealand and West Indies, respectively.
The social media went abuzz with varied opinions on the Pakistan women’s team’s debacle, but the only notion of interest was their comparison being made to their compatriot male players, who recently won the Champions Trophy. A little retrospection would help people remember that while the men’s team faced embarrassment at the hands of India in the 2016 World T20, Pakistan women’s team defeated Indian women in their T20 contest by two runs to bring some consolation to the cricket-loving nation. The argument here is not to support Mir’s charges, they need to be criticised, but, simultaneously, a remedy should also be proposed for the problems which plague women’s cricket in Pakistan.
Firstly, no one heeds much to women’s cricket. The idea of women walking outside their homes is still elusive to many men in the country, thus, finding talented players from across Pakistan itself becomes a daunting task. Secondly, female cricketers, while still use the same facilities as male cricketers, are not provided with a world-class support staff and are also underpaid in comparison to their male counterparts. They don’t complain because for them the love for the game and the chance to play it means more than worrying about earning enough from it. All in all, more focus and energy to systemise women’s cricket structure is needed before we demand miracles from them.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2017.